-They lived in
Tainos -They were
various trades such
fishing and farming
Arrival of the Europeans
-The arrival of
Columbus in 1492
consequences for the
the Tainos and
though they tried to
fight back, they were
eventually put down.
Arrival of the Europeans
Tainos and used
them to mine
killed much of the
-After exhausting the gold
in the mines, settlers
turned to growing crops
like sugar, coffee, and
-These crops took a lot of
work to grow and to
-Since plantation owners
could no longer use the
native population, they
imported slaves from
Africa to work the land.
-After Columbus’ voyage, many European
nations were very interested in gaining
colonies and the wealth that came with
them. They actively began to compete for
land in the “new world.”
-The French established permanent
settlements in the West, challenging
Spanish domination of the island.
-In 1697, the Spanish ceded (or gave up), the
Western part of the island to the French.
French Settlement and Slavery
-The French established plantations growing,
indigo, sugar, etc.
-Often, French plantation owners did not live
on the island, choosing to hire managers to
oversee their properties.
-By 1791, there were about 32,000 (free)
white individuals compared to 500,000
enslaved individuals. (As production
boomed, they needed more and more
laborers, so they kept importing slaves.)
French Settlement and
Slavery: Question for
What problem do you see with
this population imbalance
(32,000 whites to 500,000
Life for Enslaved Individuals
-Life for enslaved
people consisted of
dangerous work in
the mills or back-
breaking work in
- They worked long
-Some owners did
Diversity of Enslaved People
-Enslaved individuals came
from many cultures and spoke
many different languages.
-Many were born in Africa,
some on the island
-Some slaves were considered
above others. They were given
positions of authority, such as
overseers (individuals who
supervised groups of
-The voodoo religion was created by the diverse
enslaved population of Saint-Domingue and
combined a variety of African religious
-Voodoo was important for the enslaved people at
this time because it it was a way for them to
assert some control over their lives and bring
-Colonial authorities saw the practice of voodoo as
a threat to their authority and tried to suppress
it. They were never successful.
-The affranchis were free people of color.
-Most affranchis were mulatto, or of mixed descent. These
individuals were often the illegitimate children of white
-Despite significant obstacles, many affranchis began to
accumulate considerable wealth.
-Some became plantation owners, some served in the
colonial militia and the local police force.
-Many whites were very intimidated by the growing power
and prestige of the affranchis.
-After a while, the colonial gov’t placed restrictions on the
affranchis that took away many of their privileges and
Engraving showing differences between life
for free and enslaved blacks
Black Codes (Code Noir)
-By 1791, the number of
affranchis and enslaved
outnumbered the whites
on the island.
-The French gov’t created
the Black Codes (Code
Noir), a set of codes that
position on slavery in its
People of Color
-It stated that slaves were the property of their
masters and placed strict limits on the
behavior of slaves.
-The Code also established some minimum
standards for the treatment of slaves-setting
limits on the number of hours slaves could
work and the type of punishment their owners
-However, these provisions were rarely followed
and slaves continued to be treated poorly.
-Enslaved people found many ways to resist
-Infanticide, suicide, and plots to kill the
master/overseer were some ways individuals
-They also participated in cultural activities that
reaffirmed their dignity and sense of self,
which their master’s tried to take from them.
-Many also chose to run away. These individuals
were called maroons. They established their
-As time progressed, slaves became
less and less willing to accept their
-In 1757, a maroon leader, Francois
Makandal, organized a plot to
poison all of the whites in the North
of the colony.
-Makandal was caught and executed,
but the plot terrified whites who
took drastic measures to ensure that
they would not become victims of a
-Makandal’s plot established
networks of resistance among
enslaved people on different
-These networks would become very
important during the Revolution
-The story of the revolt was told and
retold among enslaved individuals
and made them believe that
resistance could be successful.